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Full text of "NightRider"

54

"I have to be away, honey," he would reply, Several
times he tried to tell her precisely how he felt, carefully
choosing some incident that had seemed to speak to him.
"Up at the meeting at New Sharon Church," he would say,
" there was an old man. I didn't notice him much at first,
because he sort of hung around the back of the crowd. It
wasn't a very big crowd, just about forty-five or fifty people,
including the women there too. He didn't look much
different from other people, I reckon, but I got to noticing
him-----"

" Yes/' she would put in, the question in her voice.

"He was a sort of broken-down-looking old man, you
might say. About sixty, maybe. I got to noticing him while
the meeting went on. He had a wen—I reckon you would
call it a wen—or something like that, on his left temple.
About the size of a quarter, and purple-coloured. He looked
something like old Mr. Murdock—you know old Mr. Mur-
dock, Bill Casady's father-in-law? Used to crop over on the
Tyler place."

"I don't believe I remember him," and she would peer
mto the fire as though she were trying to stir her memory.

" Well, anyway, that isn't the point. He looked something
ike old Mr. Murdock, though, except for the wen. He had
on overalls and an old black coat and a straw hat. I kept
noticing him back in the crowd. After I got through talk-
ing, I called for people to sign up with the Association.
Nobody came. Then I said I would like to answer any
questions they had about how the Association worked, and
tiben maybe they could see their way clear to signing up.
Nobody said a word, and nobody budged. Then that old
mm started coming up toward the front." Then, telling
that incident or another, he would be aware that the story
wai going to pieces in his hands. He had thought that, if
be could tell her the story exactly as it happened, the mean-
ing wmM become dear too, and the way he felt.

Be would finish somewhat lamely, apologetically: "Well,
he iiped up. After he signed up, three other men signed, too."